Addressing climate change brings challenges on several different fronts. In order to remove carbon from the energy industry, many activities such as transportation and heating need to shift from gas to electricity, while supplying the electricity with clean resources. This means the electric grid needs to be ready to accommodate large amounts of rooftop solar production as well as electric vehicle charging – all while preparing to face extreme weather conditions and ensuring people’s health and safety. In this talk, we’ll learn more from Dr. Alexandra “Sascha” von Meier about the Oakland EcoBlock project, funded by the California Energy Commission and led by UC Berkeley researchers in collaboration with Berkeley Lab and the City of Oakland, which proposes a way to meet these multiple challenges simultaneously, through a new model for community cooperation. The project is undertaking a radical retrofit of existing residential homes, creating a block that is more resilient to power outages, allowing residents to co-own the main means of their energy production, and creating healthier homes and neighborhoods. In this lecture, Dr. von Meier will present the aspirations, progress, as well as the difficulties in bringing this vision to fruition and how it can be replicated on a larger scale.


Dr. Alexandra von Meier

Adjunct Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Director of Electric Grid Research, California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE), Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute